Your body is a machine with uptimes and downtimes. By better understanding your body, and how that machine works, you’ll be able to maximize your energy while minimizing your weight. The most important step is becoming more aware of your daily cycle. For most people, the cycle means getting up in the morning, ramping up to the most active hours between from 9-5, cooling down and relaxing in the evenings, and then settling into bed for a snooze.
The main meal of the day for the majority of people is in the evening: hot meals are cooked for suppertime, and it’s a time for families to be together. Unfortunately, this is completely at odds with the daily cycle.
By consuming the largest meal of the day in the evening, an individual doesn’t have a chance to burn off those calories. After filling up on supper, your body rests, relaxes, and then goes to bed. The energy absorbed from the food has nowhere to go.
And this is doubly true for the much-loved midnight snack. Because you are going right to sleep, the energy from your quick peanut-butter sandwich will not be used.
So your body stores it as fat.
One alternative is to have your large meal of the day when you are most active. Many Europeans traditionally eat their dominant meal at midday. They then head back to work, get active, and the calories are burned off. By planning your meals this way, the calories you absorb will be able to be put to use, rather than simply converted to fat.
Better still is another option, and a more revolutionary approach to eating: abandon the idea of large meals altogether. Rather than consuming all your food in breakfast, lunch, and supper, many health enthusiasts advocate snacking all day long.
The idea behind all-day snacking is this: when your body gets a large amount of food, it is genetically programmed to use it and save it in the most efficient way possible. For primitive man, this was essential. He couldn’t always find animals or plants to eat, so when he did have food, he would stock up. His body stored fat to get him through the lean times.
By consuming small amount of food throughout the day, the “feast” genes are never activated. Your body doesn’t make an extra effort to save your food as fat.
It’s a strange idea. Meals are the cornerstone of much of our social lives and they provide a release from the stresses of the day.
Realistically, the all-day snacking diet may not be practical for most people. Nevertheless, a variation on it can still be helpful. Rather than preparing the usual size breakfast, lunch and dinner, try for half-size or less. Make up for this difference by snacking throughout your active day on such foods as plain nuts (no honey roasted peanuts, and no fatty cashews or peanuts. Almonds are excellent), raw vegetables such as carrots and broccoli, and hard boiled eggs.
With this plan, you should taper off your snacking 3 or 4 hours before bedtime. By balancing your meals this way, your body will be less likely to react to your meals by storing energy. The food you consume will be used by your body, and won’t turn into those few extra pounds.